Park City Lodging Welcomes Skiers As Sundance Goes Virtual

By Everett Potter, Contributor
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 19: A general view the Egyptian Theater at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

The big news out of Park City, Utah is that the Sundance Film Festival, the most important forum for independent films in the world, is going virtual this year. Given the situation with the Omicron variant, it comes as little surprise.

While this is a disappointment to the filmmakers, actors and dealmakers who flock to this mountain town every January for the event, it’s also massively disappointing to hoteliers and innkeepers in the resort town. The Sundance Film Festival has traditionally meant that for the 10 days of the event, every hotel, inn, guesthouse and rental condo is booked solid, typically at the highest rates of the year.

Yet there is actually an upside for skiers and snowboarders. With the Festival going virtual, all of those guestrooms, penthouses, and suites are available for those who love the slopes at Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. That’s why this is an ideal time to make last-minute reservations and fly to Utah to make some turns.

Skiing at Deer Valley Resort. Deer Valley Resort

“For years skiers and snowboarders in-the-know have been able to enjoy the quiet slopes in Park City during Sundance Film Festival while movie-buffs indulge in the festival's cinematic offerings,” said Nathan Rafferty, President of Ski Utah. “However, this change of events actually provides those cinephiles who enjoy skiing with the unique opportunity to grab first chair at Deer Valley or Park City Mountain and catch up with films and Q&A’s later in the day in their hotel rooms. It also provides Utah locals with the option to orchestrate a Sundance ‘stay-and-ski-cation’ up in Park City during a time when hotel rooms are usually booked to capacity. For those out of town skiers who are a little less cinematically inclined, this is also an excellent opportunity to score a great deal on previously occupied hotel rooms in the area.”

Hotels like Park City Peaks are already offering great deals on rooms during the January 19-21, 2022 window. At the Washington School House Hotel, a restored 1889 schoolhouse that’s been transformed into arguably the most charming boutique hotel in town, the entire Sundance window is pretty much wide open for booking now. High end properties such as the St. Regis Deer Valley, Montage Deer Valley, and Waldorf Astoria Park City all have rooms available on most dates during that previously sold-out time period.

Main Street, Park City, Utah. Ski Utah

Peruse the official resort lodging sites at Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Lodging  and you’ll find a lot of inventory that’s come flooding back into the market, at prices that are considerably lower than they were when booked by Hollywood types. Scan the listings of VRBO and Airbnb, as well as local sites such as Park City Vacation Rentals, and you’ll find condos available. While weekends appear to be booking fast, the sweetest spot seems to be weekdays from January 24th onward.

Based on my visit last week, both Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley are doing remarkably good jobs at keeping their respective resorts humming during a challenging time. Multiple days of snow in early January have left both mountains with a solid base.

January skiing in Utah is traditionally a phenomenal time to experience some of the best ski slopes in the West on what the local marketing folks love to call “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” This January, you’re looking at a rare opportunity to grab some great lodging deals to match that powder.


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